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Bobcats

Layne Sedevie would much rather his team was still on the ice.

Despite missing the NAHL playoffs, the news off the ice has been pretty good the last week for the Bismarck Bobcats.

In the span of five days, two Bobcats signed with Division I programs, bringing the total number of current or former Bismarck players who have committed to playing college hockey to 11.

After George Grannis signed with D-I Clarkson last Friday, Mitch Walinski became the fourth Bobcat in recent years to sign with Air Force. The announcement was made Tuesday. Both players will play one more season with the Bobcats before beginning their collegiate careers.

"I think a lot of it is not only our program and what we try to do with our players, but I think it's also a product of our league," said Sedevie, head coach and general manager of the Bobcats. "When you look at how many players get committed out of this league, it just continues to grow year after year.

"I think right now you have a situation where you have tiers in junior hockey. You have the USHL at the top and maybe in the past there'd be a Canadian league team next, but right now with the way this league continues to produce these types of players, I think our league (NAHL) is the second best junior league in the world."

Walinski, a forward from Lincoln, R.I., made a major impact for the Bobcats. In just 23 games, he netted 10 goals and dished out six assists.

When Walinski heads to Air Force in 2019, he'll join former Bobcats Joe Tyran and Will Ulrich. Evan Giesler will play his final season at Air Force this upcoming season.

Grannis, an 18-year-old forward from Duluth, Minn., played eight games for the Bobcats, totaling one goal and four assists.

Bismarck dealt with major injuries and roster tumult last season, but was still in the hunt for a playoff spot deep into the campaign.

"It was a challenging season, no question about it, but I thought our guys competed to the end," Sedevie said. "We certainly are not happy with the results. We've had a lot of success here. All of our focus and energy is getting back to where we need to be, and where we expect to be."

Sedevie likes the nucleus of the team returning. He and assistant coach Garrett Roth are on the recruiting trail just about every weekend. They're also preparing for the draft, which comes up on June 5.

"There's a lot of parity in our division. I believe it's one of the toughest divisions in the NAHL," Sedevie said. "We have a pretty good core of guys returning, but we're going to leave no stone unturned to make us better."

NAHL NOTES

The other nine current or former Bobcats who have committed, or are playing college hockey are, Jared Resseguie (Denver), Tanner Vescio (Northern Michigan), Grant Johnson (Northern Michigan), Ryan Ullan (Northern Michigan), Adam Stacho (American International), Alex Trombley (Ohio State), Andrew Bellant (Michigan Tech), Tristan Ashbrook (RPI) and Tanner Breidenbach (Concordia). ... Minot ousted Central Division regular-season champion Aberdeen in the decisive fifth game of their semifinal series Tuesday night in Aberdeen, 3-0. It's just the second time Minot has advanced to the division finals. The Minotauros face Austin (Minn.) in the Central Division finals. The best-of-5 series begins Friday in Austin.

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